Section News

November 13th, 2014 USDA Tour in Wyndmoor, PA

By: Lyndsay Fitzer

With growing interest in alternative energy a tour was organized for the DVS-AIChE section at the USDA site in Wyndmoor, PA. About 30 attendees gathered for a catered dinner first and then a well prepared tour with a focus on four main areas. Peggy Tomasula began with her research on Dairy and Functional Food research. Her group’s mission is to solve “critical problems in utilization of milk and of fruit and vegetable residues from specialty crops by creating new concepts in science and technology to develop high-quality, value-added functional foods and consumer products that help improve human health and well-being.” You can read more about Peggy Tomasula in this link.

Next Dr. Akwasi Boateng and Neil Goldenberg summarized their extensive efforts towards renewable fuel standards. 21 billion gallons of advanced bio-fuels will need to be produced by 2022. “The largest source of feedstock to produce these advanced biofuels is lignocellulosic biomass, including woody materials, herbaceous grasses and crop residues.” Fast pyrolysis has been researched to create pyrolysis oil (bio-oil). Currently pyrolysis oil is corrosive and unstable, creating processing problems. A catalyst was added in order to remove oxygen and results in hydrocarbons. A study was done on oak and oxygen was reduced from 40 wt% to about 17 wt%. Find more about there research by following this link.

Dr. John Nghiem has a project titled “Sorghum Biorefining: Integrated Processes for Converting All Sorghum Feedstock Components to Fuels and Co-Products.” The Objective is to “Develop technologies that … enable the commercial production of new co-products at sorghum-based biorefineries.” He also is developing technologies that enable the commercial production of marketable C5-rich and C6-rich sugar streams from sorghum lignocellulosic into fuels and chemicals. Lastly he currently researches to “develop technologies that enable the use of byproducts and wastes generated in ethanol and other fermentation processes in the sorghum biorefinery for production of energy and chemicals.” More about John’s research by following this

Lastly, Dr. Robert Moreau has been researching the project titled “Enable New Marketable, Value-Added Coproducts to Improve Biorefining Profitability.” His objective is to fractionate sorghum and grain-derived brans into new commercially-viable coproducts or energy/fuels. He also aims to develop commercially-viable, value-added carbohydrate, cellulose, hemicellulose based co-products. Finally he is enhancing biodiesel quality, low temperature operability, and reducing quality-related limitations of biodiesel produced from trap and float greases. Lastly, he is enabling the commercial production of alkyl-branched and aryl-branched fatty acids. Read more by clicking here.

K-12 Outreach at Esperanza College, Philadelphia, PA

By: Aswathi John

Esperanza College, a Christian College program started to enhance the knowledge, skills and outlook of Hispanic and local community students. AIChE was able to be a part their mission by organizing a K-12 outreach sponsored by INOLEX at Esperanza College.
In order to show the kids an application of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in real life we organized an activity in which we showed them how to make a lip gloss.

First we discussed with the students, the different characteristics a lip gloss should have and how one can use the principles of chemistry to combine different kinds of substances to make a lip gloss with the desired characteristics.

Once we showed them how to make and package it, we asked them to think about how thousands of similar lip gloss is being produced in a day. And hence we taught them the necessity of Chemical Engineers in the field of manufacturing to efficiently produce various products around them.

We made them understand that once a Chemist finds the best formulation to make a lip gloss with the desired characteristics, it is the job of the Chemical Engineer to design and engineer techniques and mechanisms that can be used for the large scale production of the product which then goes into the consumer market.

Overall we were glad to have successfully organized this workshop to show the importance and necessity of Chemical Engineers in our society.

For pictures click here 

Oktoberfest 2014 Success!

By: Peter Schwalbenberg, Vice Chair

“In recent years’ the DVS’s Oktoberfest has become a social hotspot for engineers, students and friends and this year was no exception. For this 8th edition of the event, AIChE-DVS and ISPE-DVC teamed up and hosted this annual autumn get-together at the one and only, Yards Brewery in Philadelphia.

Over 90 attendees came to enjoy the local brews and the good company. The Spruce, Pynk, and Pale ales proved to be an epic delight, specially accompanied with the beer themed appetizers/sandwiches provided by Tradestone Cafe. The night kicked off with a warm welcome given by the Daniel Sujo, the chair of AIChE-DVS and Alan Levy, the president of ISPE-DVC. The event followed with a fun and easy social bingo competition, with folks mingling to find out different fun facts about each other. 10 winners won 10 Wawa gift cards, but people kept on meeting and greeting to complete their bingo boards. Business cards were exchanged, fun gatherings were planned and student learned a great deal about industry and career advice. And let’s not forget the hilarious brewery tour given by Yards’ own Mike Hans! Great beer, great food and great people made this Fall season kick off to a great start!”

Check the photos from Oktoberfest 2014 HERE

AIChE New Fellows 2014

Please join me in congratulating Doug Kriebel, PE, Chuck Clerecuzio, PE and Dr. Zenaida Gephardt, PE for their appointment as Fellow Members of AIChE based on their demonstrated significant professional accomplishment and long-term service to the profession and our section.

I also want to congratulate as well the outstanding job of our Awards Committee for their hard work behind the scenes to ensure our members are recognized locally and nationally.

We are always looking for nominations! Please contact us if you want to nominate an outstanding member of our section.